The History of the Town of Galen
From "Landmarks of Wayne County, New York"
Edited by Hon. George W. Cowles of Clyde, N.Y. 1895
Jacob Van Buskirk, born at Buskirk's Bridge, N. Y., in 1823, came to Clyde in 1842, and died here in June, 1891. He was a justice of the peace twenty years, superintendent of the Sunday school from 1859 to 1872 and an elder in that church from 1868 until 1880, first lieutenant of Co. B 111th N. Y. Vols., and the first railroad ticket agent in Clyde in 1854. His son, Albert M., was the first superintendent and engineer of the Clyde water works, serving from the fall of 1889 until September, 1891.
Samuel S. Briggs, born in Chatham, N. Y., in 1803, came to Galen in 1835, and purchased 200 acres and subsequently 300 more. He was one of the founders of Miller's Bank, the first financial institution in the town, and in 1856 he organized the Briggs Bank of Clyde. He died September 3, 1865, and was succeeded by his son Samuel H. The latter was born here in 1844. He was president of the Briggs National Bank in Clyde, a founder and trustee of the Presbyterian Church, and moved to Rochester in 1882, where he died August 8, 1894.
Adrastus Snedaker, born in 1813, moved with his parents to Sodus in 1813, came to Clyde in 1838, and for sixteen years was station agent for the "Big Line" towing company. In 1858 he was elected sheriff, and in that capacity hanged James Fee, March 23, 1860, the first and only person ever put to death by law in Wayne county. James W. and Albert L. Snedaker, his sons, served in the Rebellion, and in their memory the Snedaker Post, No. 173, G. A. R. of Clyde was named; this post was organized in July, 1880, with thirty members.
Daniel Saxton, the father of Hon. Charles T. Saxton, was born on Long Island in 1822, moved to Clyde in 1845, and died here in June, 1891. With A. F. Terry he engaged in the manufacture of coach lace and harness. (See biographical department).
Prominent among settlers may be mentioned Jacob E. Tremper, groceryman, died May 7, 1881; James Armitage, for several years town clerk, died April 14, 1881; Ernest Lux, cooper and coal dealer, died November 12, 1891; E. Willard Sherman, born in Rose in 1833, druggist and cooper, town clerk, secretary Galen Agricultural Society, eleven years clerk of the Board of Supervisors, died February 23, 1889; Jeremiah Greene, moved to Sodus with his parents in 1837, graduated from Union College in 1858, came to Clyde in 1865, ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church eleven years, died in October, 1889; Peter F. Ryerson, merchant and builder, died in September, 1888; Emory W. Gurnee, born in Sodus in 1843, came to Clyde in 1864, town clerk, village treasurer six years, supervisor, member of assembly in 1873; Morgan Cookingham, justice of the peace and county superintendent of the poor, died at Lock Berlin in June, 1879; Samuel V. Bockoven, born in New Jersey in 1800, moved to Lyons while young, thence to Lock Berlin and Clyde, died in July, 1876; Charles E. Elliott, banker, maltster, etc., died April 8, 1873; Captain Williem Graham, died in 1856, and his widow February 15, 1891; Fredus Chapman, died July 9, 1886; Captain William Watters, first passenger conductor over the Niagara Falls branch of the New York Central Railroad, ticket agent at the New York Central depot in Clyde for twenty-four years from June, 1860, died April 20, 1884; Ira Wells, father of ex-member of assembly E. B. Wells, born in 1794, settled early in Sodus, removed to Lyons, died in April, 1882; Henry Graham, jr., born in 1802, blacksmith, moved to Port Glasgow in 1831 and kept hotel, came to Rose and later to Clyde, died October 17, 1878; N. B. Gilbert, father of W. H. Gilbert, settled in Lock Berlin in 1837, town superintendent of schools, justice of the peace, carriage manufacturer, died there in 1875. Barber Streeter, some time postmaster at Lock Berlin, died in February, 1890. Many others of equal note are mentioned on subsequent pages and more fully in part 2d of this volume.
The first school house at Lock Berlin, and probably the first in Galen, was built of logs near Black Creek about 1814; its first teacher was John Abbott. Some nine years later it was burned and another erected half a mile east. About four years afterward the district school was divided between Clyde and Lock Berlin, and this school house was abandoned and a new one built in this village. The first school building in Marengo was erected about 1816, the first teacher being Samuel Stone and the second James McBride. In 1818 the school is said to have ninety scholars and Joseph Watson was the teacher. In Clyde the first school was taught by William McLouth in a log house which stood on the corner of Sylvester Clarke's garden. The Clyde High School was legally incorporated April 23, 1834, by the consolidation of districts 14 and 17, and the first trustees were William S. Stow, John Condit, George Burrill, Isaac Lewis, Sylvester Clarke, and Calvin D. Tompkins. A two story building with a high basement was erected that year on the corner of Lock and Caroline streets; Professor William H. Schram was the first principal and Miss Abigail Packard the first preceptress, assisted by three teachers. Subsequently the village was divided for school purposes and a graded school established on the south side of the river, of which Byron N. Marriott is the present principal. July 7, 1874, the corner stone of the present High School building on the north side of the river in Clyde was laid with Masonic ceremonies, and school was opened in it that fall. It is of brick and cost $30,000. It maintains primary, intermediate, and academic departments, and is under Professor Alvin B. Bishop, A. M., principal, and Florence G. Ivison, preceptress. It has a library of 1,575 bound volumes, and was attended during the school year 1893-94 by 415 resident and 112 non-resident pupils. Among the various principals in charge of the school are recalled the names of Hon. William H. Lyon, William Burnett, Professor Bennett, John Robinson, Hugh R. Jolly, and Edward Hayward. Mr. Lyon became noted as the inventor of the telegraphic printer; or rather, as the first to demonstrate through the medium of a model that the pen and ink or type could be used in conveying messages; this occured while he was principal of this school in 1844. The Board of Education for 1893-94 consists of George B. Greenway, president; Archibald M. Graham, secretary and treasurer; and Willard N. Field. John G. Gillette is clerk. The town has eighteen school districts with a school house in each, which were taught in 1892-93 by thirty teachers and attended by 1,225 children. The value of school buildings and sites is $51,275; assessed valuation of the districts $3,367,263; public money received from the State $5,137.70; raised by local taxes $8,276.34.
One of the oldest burial places in Galen is situated west of Marengo, and was opened by the Quakers in connection with their church. In the western part of Clyde is an old, unused burying ground, in which the first internment was the remains of a child of Peter Moon. The Catholics have a very pretty cemetery in the southwest part of the village, between the railroads. The Maple Grove Cemetery Association was organized March 25, 1859, with these officers: Samuel S. Briggs, president; Aaron Griswold, vice-president; Leander S. Ketchum, secretary; Isaac Miller, treasurer. Thirteen acres of land were purchased in the southeast part of the town, which has been beautified and fitted up in a very tasty manner. The presidents of the association have been as follows: Samuel S. Briggs, to April, 1865; Aaron Griswold, to April, 1871; Samuel H. Briggs, to April, 1882; Samuel S. Morley, to April 1883; John Cockshaw, to present time. The other officers for 1894 are: Sylvester J. Child, vice-president; George O. Baker, secretary and treasurer; John Cockshaw, George O. Baker, Sylvester J. Child, Samuel H. Briggs, William D. Ely, and Archibald M. Graham, trustees.
Soon after the first settlers came in small distilleries began to spring up and flourish in various parts of the town. Abner Hand had one near the river two miles southeast of Clyde, and Aaron Dunn had one on his farm. Those in Clyde are noticed futher on.
During the War of the Rebellion the town of Galen made a brilliant record,
responding promptly to the various calls for troops and contributing liberally
of both money and men. No little credit is due the ladies for their patriotism
and substantial aid during that long conflict. A total of 455 men went out
from this town, a number of whom were promoted to commissioned officers, and
all of whom served with honor and distinction. Dennis G. Flynn, who died in
April, 1873, recruited parts of Company B, 111th, and Company K, 138th Regiments, and became captain of the latter in 1864.
CLYDE VILLAGE- Situated near the center of the town, on the Erie Canal and New York Central and West Shore Railroads, the village of Clyde is one of the most important points in Wayne county. It commenced an existence on the south side of the river in 1811, when Jonathan Melvin, jr., erected the block house previously described. In this the first town meeting was held in 1812, in which year two more log houses were built. Soon afterward the hamlet was given the name of "Lauraville", from Henrietta Laura, Countess of Bath, daughter of Sir William Pultney. William McLouth, a surveyor, laid out the original lots and streets south of the river, and was one of the first to carry on trade in the place. The first store was started about 1815 by James B. West in a part of the Vanderbilt tavern. In 1817 Sylvester Clarke opened a store opposite the hotel and later moved his goods to a building now the residence of his son Sylvester H.
Among the first lot owners after McLouth's survey were Dennis Vanderbilt, R. James, W. Minderse, W. Wallace, E. Dean, D. Southwick, a Mr. Richmond, J. Werk, and Tubbs and West.
The first tavern on the south side of the river was built and kept by Dennis Vanderbilt about 1814. It stood on the corner of Waterloo and Water streets, and in its ball room the first Sunday school was organized in 1825. James Humeston a little later put up another near the river between the two bridges. This was subsequently kept for a time by Horatio G. Kingsbury and others, and in 1836 it was burned. In 1837 Herman Jenkins built on the site what was last known as the old Humphrey house, which was demolished in 1884 to make room for the road bed of the West Shore Railroad. Mr. Humeston was appointed the first postmaster when the post-office was established in "Lauraville," under the name of Galen, and kept the office in his tavern. June 12, 1820, Sylvester Clarke was appointed to the position. In the upper story of his building, which is still standing, the Presbyterians and Free Masons held their earlier meetings, and after a split occured in the former the suceders held services here under Rev. William L. Roberts, who also taught a select school. Arza Lewis had a store at an early day on Water street.
On the north side of the River Dr. Ledyard, a Revolutionary surgeon, received the original title to the land, and from him it passed to George Burrill. The first frame house was built by William S. De Zeng, as was also the first store, which stood on the site of the present Hunt block, and which was kept by his agent, Mr. Scott. The house subsequently became the dwelling of William S. Stow. Mr. De Zeng never lived here, but his business interests in Clyde were long an important feature of the village; he died in Geneva, August 16, 1882. About 1817 this side of the river was surveyed into
village lots, and in 1818 Andrew McNab, from the River Clyde, Scotland, came here to dispose of them. The landscape evidently reminded him of his native heath, for he gave the name Clyde to the Canandaigua outlet and this portion of the village.
The first tavern here was originally called the Mansion House, then the Franklin, the Sherman, and finally the Delevan House, under which designation it burned in November, 1885. From the steps of the Mansion House in 1825 Dominic Moshier made the address of welcome when Governor De Witt Clinton passed through the village on the "Young Lion of the West," the first canal boat that passed through Clyde. The Exchange Hotel, subsequently known as the Eagle House, was built on the canal bank near the glass works in 1825. Its first landlord was a Mr. Garrett, and directly in front of it was the old canal lock long since torn out. Opposite was the large yellow grocery of Strong & Harrington, and a little west was the American Hotel, once kept by Harry Goodchild. This formed quite a settlement, but when the lock was removed the buildings disappeared and the Eagle Hotel was made an ashery. The site of the present Clyde Hotel was originally occupied by the Clyde Coffee House, a two-story hostelry, erected by a Mr. Whitmore in 1818. It was burned in 1826 while Horatio G. Kingsbury was proprietor, and in the same year the first Clyde Hotel was built by David Williams and Benjamin Ford. It was two stories high, but when P. G. Denison became proprietor he
added another and Peter Ryerson subsequently built the north wing. With adjacent buildings it was burned September 11, 1883. The present Clyde Hotel was opened November 18, 1884. The present proprietor, F. B. Smith, obtained possession in January, 1889.
January 6, 1830, Eber F. Moon issued the first number of the Clyde Standard, the first paper published in Clyde, from a wood building on the site of the S. S. Briggs block (now the home of the Clyde Times), and which is now occupied as a tenement on Sodus street. It states that boats passed through the Erie Canal on January 3, on their way to Albany; it also contains the following local advertisements: Elisha Blakeman, select school; James Dickson, dry goods and groceries; Mason & Pendleton, cabinet ware and
furniture; William S. Stow, 100 building lots in Clyde for sale; James M. Watson, proprietor Clyde and Geneva mail stage, three trips each way weekly; Acker & Chapman, O. S. Bartles, Ely, Shepard & Co., and M. L. Faulkner (dry goods), all published notices to delinquent debtors; De Zeng & Rees, cash or barter paid for ashes; J. W. Furnal & Co., hatters; D. Foster, saddle and harness maker; Clyde Hotel, Edmund B. Hill, proprietor; C. Bartles, beer. The second newspaper was the Clyde Gazette in 1836.
In 1830 Clyde contained seven dry goods stores, ten groceries, four hotels, two drug stores, a glass factory, two lawyers, an insurance office, a printing office and newspaper, two saddle and harness makers, two hatters, two grist mills, a saw mill, a wool carder, one cloth dresser, two physicians, two milliners, five shoemakers, two blacksmiths, three tailors, two tanners, four storage and forwarders, six painters, twelve carpenters, four masons, a cabinet maker, two distilleries, one wheelwright, three coopers, and "upwards of 200 houses, most of which have been built within the last two years."
In 1845 Clyde had eleven dry goods stores, four groceries, two drug stores, and 1,400 inhabitants.
William S. Stow settled in Clyde in 1825, and the same year built his law
office west of and facing the public square; this structure is still standing and is occupied by his son, DeLancey Stow. It is the oldest office in the village and in it the village government was inaugurated. In it also Clyde village was incorporated May 2, 1835, when five trustees were elected, as follows: William S. Stow, Samuel C. Paine, Aaron T. Hendrick, Arza Lewis, and John Condit. Lauraville then ceased to be and the settlements on both sides of the river have since been known as Clyde. The post-office, as previously noted, had been called Galen, but in 1826, through the efforts of Representative Robert S. Rose and William S. Stow, the name was changed to Clyde. The present postmaster is DeLancey Stow, who succeeded George G. Roe in October 1, 1894.
The presidents of Clyde village have been as follows:
Aaron T. Hendrick, 1835
Ira Jenkins, 1836
Nathan P. Colvin, 1837
William S. Stow, 1838-40
B. M. Vanderveer, 1841
Charles D. Lawton, 1842
William O. Sloan, 1843
William S. Stow, 1844
William O. Sloan, 1845
Albert Clark, 1846
Luther Field, 1847
Ambrose S. Field, 1848
Jabez S. Amoreaux, 1849
Charles E. Elliott, 1850
Alfred C. Howe, 1851-53
Samuel S. Streeter, 1854
Samuel Weed, 1855
Albert R. Redfield, 1856
Adrastus Snedaker, 1857
Aaron Griswold, 1858
John Condit, 1859
Byron Ford, 1860
Solomon H. Skinner, 1861
William H. Coffin, 1862-63
Dr. Darwin Colvin, 1864-66
Aaron Griswold, 1867-69
James M. Streeter, 1870
Aaron Griswold, 1871
P. Ira Lape, 1872
Aaron Gregory, 1873
John Crowell, 1874-75
Charles T. Saxton, 1876
Dr. Darwin Colvin, 1877
John Cockshaw, 1878
Edwin Sands, 1879
James M. Streeter, 1880
Marcus Shafer, 1881
Lathrop S. Taylor, 1882
Albert F. Redfield, 1883
Edwin Sands, 1884
Levi Paddock, 1885
Michael A. Fisher, 1886
Arthur H. Smith, 1887
Avery H. Gillette, 1888
Charles R. Stranghan, 1889
Albert C. Lux, 1890
James Keesler, 1891
James R. Miller, 1892
Archibald M. Graham, 1893
George B. Greenway, 1894
Village officers for 1894: president, George B. Greenway; clerk, Charles
R. Kennedy; trustees, George B. Greenway, George W. Cowles, Charles A. Sloan, Charles S. Skinner, H. K. Compson; collector, John E. Haight; treasurer, William A. Hunt; chief of fire department, John Hak; police justice, DeLancey Stow.
June 3, 1835, that part of the village south of the river was designated
as corporation number 1, with Eleazor H. House, overseer of highways; that
part east of Sodus street, north of the river, as corporation 2, with Richard Wood, overseer; and that portion west of Sodus street as corporation 3, with George Thompson, overseer. In 1836 the following ordinance was enacted and has never been repealed:
That any person or persons who shall hereafter suffer or permit any kind
of gaming by lot or chance, within his or her house, out-house, yard, or garden, within the village of Clyde, shall, for every offense, forfeit or pay into the village treasury the sum of ten dollars.
On May 14, 1840, the charter was amended and authorized the trustees to raise $1,000 to extinguish the debt incurred in purchasing a fire engine. May 2, 1855, and in May, 1873, the charter was further amended; on the later date it increased the corporate limits to four square miles, making the center of the public square the center of the village and allowing $2,000 per annum to be raised for expenses; before the $1,000 was the maximum sum.
In February, 1874, a special bill was enacted by the Legislature authorizing the trustees to levy and collect a tax of $6,000, in addition to the regular tax, to pay the village debt to that date.
The first public hall, a wooden structure, stood on the site of the present one; it was burned April 20, 1870, and an act was passed enabling the town and village to jointly raise $4,000 to erect a new building. This was legally authorized at a special election May 3, 1870, and the present hall was built during that and the following year. It is of brick and contains the village offices, the fire department headquarters, and an opera house.
On April 10, 1824, Eli Frisbie, Simeon Griswold, and James Dickson were appointed commissioners to build a bridge over the river at Clyde, and the supervisor was empowered to raise $1,000 for the purpose. This bridge took the place of the first one built at this point in 1810, and stood on the site of the present upper bridge. In 1867 the old wooden bridge at the corner of Geneva and Griswold streets was replaced by a stone one.
The first license granted for a public entertainment was dated June 8, 1835, and permitted "Noel E. Waring to exhibit for one day, on the 24th inst., his Zoological Institute Association, Menagerie and Aviary, and also his paintings and Serpant," in consideration of the payment of $10. The first band of musicians in Clyde was organized in 1839 under the leadership of Major Gilbert, of Palmyra; he was succeeded in 1840 by Major Pitman, who was paid a salary of $400 a year. This band disbanded about 1854. In 1860 the Wells Cornet Band was organized, and in 1878 the Saxton Band was formed.
The Clyde Fire Department was instituted January 7, 1836, by the appointment of sixteen persons as a hook and ladder company. In 1841 the Cataract hand engine was purchased for $1,000 and the first engine company was then organized. October 20, 1857, the old Cataract company was reorganized into the Niagara Fire Company No. 2, to man the engine Niagara, which had been purchased October 7 at a cost of $1,000; this engine and hose were destroyed in the glass works fire July 24, 1873. The old Cataract engine, long since disused, is still in possession of the Ever Readys. In 1872 two dams were constructed in the Erie Canal to retain water for use at fires. In September, 1873, the village purchased a Silsby steamer and 1,000 feet of hose for $5,000, and in the same year the Protectives Hook and Ladder Company No. 1 was organized. In June, 1886, a fire bell was placed in the town hall. In May, 1889, a new truck costing $1,000 was purchased for the Protectives, and a new chemical extinguisher was bought for the Ever Ready Hose Company No. 2.
Among the more disastrous fires that have visited the village may be mentioned the following: July 24, 1873, glass factory, loss about $55,000; in September, 1874, same place, loss $3,000; in October, 1874, the Newman House, loss $8,000; March 28, 1878, Barse block, loss $10,000; September 11, 1883, Clyde Hotel, St. John's Episcopal Church, Gillette blocks, etc, loss $25,000; January 17, 1889, on Columbia street, loss $12,000; January 8, ,1890 same street, loss $7,000; January 16, 1890, on Glasgow street, loss $7,000.
Typed by Town of Galen Editor Patti Norton
Town of Galen Section
Wayne County Historical Articles Section
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